October 13, 2010

A "CSI effect" in the Supreme Court?

From an oral argument about the right to counsel:
"If someone were moved from the bed, taken to the living room couch, you would have expected to see a trail of blood from the bed, and there wasn't that," said Justice Ruth Ginsburg.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked whether "he could have dragged him from the pool to the couch because there were drops along the way."

"Let's say there really was a gun fight, and Klein [the victim] fell someplace else," speculated Justice Samuel Alito. "Why is it so valuable to him to move Klein's body?"

Justice Sonia Sotomayor posed a hypothetical in which "one of those blood spots absolutely had to be Klein's near the bedroom."

"Why wouldn't he wipe up the blood?" Justice Antonin Scalia wanted to know. "I mean, what good is it to simply put him on the couch when you leave a pool of blood showing that that's where he was shot?"

18 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Appellate law is so dull and seems to be an interminably wrestling with property rights and legal procedural issues that were used to derail one side's case...and then you turn the page and read of horrible human depravity of the highest order done by an accused who now pleads procedural issues from trial or that the proof was 1) subject to suppression for police sloppiness, or 2) not adequately challenged by the defense lawyer, or 3) or not disclosed to the defense properly. But the facts of the human depravity in the facts are so strong that the appellate court will somehow find something to use to confirm the Judgement.

chuckR said...

Arthur Clarke observed that any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. The problem with CSI technology is that it isn't technology, it's TV BS. I love the video scans that automagically and instantly resolve blobby big pixels into dozens of smaller ones. And who can't be impressed with DNA testing that occurs flawlessly in real time. No waiting for machine access either. It's all entertaining nonsense but the Supremes comments fortunately didn't seem to be about the worst of CSI show procedural whoppers.

IANAL, but I wince at some of the legal procedural liberties taken in these shows in the rush to produce something entertaining that wraps up in less than an hour. There might be a con law drinking game in there somewhere.....

ndspinelli said...

Screw CSI..if we're talking blood evidence we're talking Dexter!!

Maguro said...

I love the video scans that automagically and instantly resolve blobby big pixels into dozens of smaller ones.

Yeah, this has to be CSI's dumbest pseudo-technology. And anyone who's ever messed around with Photoshop knows it's bullshit.

Flunky: It's great that we got a photo of the murderer. But it's just so blurry we can't tell who it is!

David Caruso: We could {removes sunglasses} have it blown up digitally.

Flunky: Gasp.

LarsPorsena said...

The Supremes would have a better grip on reality if they watched "The First 48".

EDH said...

The normally silent Justice Thomas rose to his feet to exclaim: It was Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory with a Candlestick!

deborah said...

NCIS > CSI

deborah said...

lol EDH

Richard Dolan said...

Well, it was a habeas case and the claim was ineffective assistance by a defense lawyer who failed to follow the blood evidence where it supposedly led -- which, according to the new defense counsel, was an argument to the jury that someone else had done the shooting.

I suppose they could have talked about the weather. Or maybe that little semi-circular bit of lawn that Ann liked so much yesterday. But, silly judges that they are, they talked about the blood evidence and what it might have shown if the first defense counsel had done what the second defense counsel claims he should have.

virgil xenophon said...

Some TV talking-head or blogger--can't remember which--has pointed out that, thanks to all the CSI shows, there is a very real "CSI EFFECT" now existing in the real world and having a deleterious effect in many of the nation's courtrooms in that today's juries now often demand and/or expect unrealistic levels of technical science-based proof before they will convict.

AJ Lynch said...

Too bad none of the SCOTUS judges look like Sela Ward of CSI NY or the blonde from CSI Vegas.

Bender said...

I really hate, but am all too often subjected to, reading an entire news story and not learning what the hell the underlying argument is supposed to be.

What is the relevance of where the victim was shot or if he was moved or the failure of counsel to investigate the blood evidence? Hell if I know, from reading that story. But that is par for the Washington Post.

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Belkys said...

I guees all people here are familiar with suspension of disbelief( Ars Poetica)

Belkys said...

So Scalia is Michel? And the others are a bunch of Fredos?

traditionalguy said...

Bender...Just watch more CSI episodes. They have a beginning, a middle and an end. Except for those frustrating two parters. The SCOTUS is in need of better fiction writers. Did you know that when the Court wants to make a new legal precedent, that they just insert fictional facts where needed to make the decision say what they want?

jr565 said...

Maguro wrote:
Flunky: It's great that we got a photo of the murderer. But it's just so blurry we can't tell who it is!

David Caruso: We could {removes sunglasses} have it blown up digitally.

Flunky: Gasp.

Well they could be using Sharpen in Photoshop.It doesn't have the power that it does on CSI for the layman because they aren't trained in the arcane arts of phorensics. Or maybe Adobe makes a special version of Photoshop only for CSI.

Belkys said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/8064442/Amanda-Knox-could-not-have-killed-Meredith-Kercher.html
CSI: Italia